NFL Coaching News Round Up, New Year’s Day Edition

Bill-Obrien.texans.400Soon-to-be Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien reportedly “grew frustrated” with the politics at Penn State. According to various reports, O’Brien had issues with individuals within the college who were attempting to compare his coaching style to that of the late Joe Paterno.

O’Brien had the following to say to David Jones of PennLive.Com during the season.

For any ‘Paterno person’ to have any objection to what I’m doing, it makes me wanna put my fist through this windshield right now…I’m trying to field the most competitive football team I can with near-death penalty —-ing sanctions. Every time I say something like that and somebody prints it, it’s skewed as an excuse. And I’m not an excuse-maker. I’m trying to do the best I can for the kids in that program. That’s all I care about is the kids in that program. As long as I’m the head football coach here.

It remains to be seen just how this will impact Penn State’s coaching search. It is said to be interested in Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin, who has led that former SEC bottom feeder to a 23-15 record over the past three seasons. For the Texans, this doesn’t matter at all. They got the guy they have been targeting since firing Gary Kubiak last month.

The Washington Redskins plan to interview Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell for their vacant head coaching position. Caldwell replaced Cam Cameron as the Ravens offensive coordinator late last season and helped improve an offense that led the team to a Super Bowl championship. Unfortunately for both Caldwell and the Ravens, this unit struggled big time in 2013, as the Ravens missed the playoffs altogether. Caldwell replaced Tony Dungy as the Indianapolis Colts head coach back in 2009 and won his first 14 games, ultimately leading Indianapolis to a Super Bowl loss to the New Orleans Saints. He was fired by Indianapolis after a two-win 2011 season.

Caldwell joins Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott as those who interest Daniel Snyder, Bruce Allen and the Redskins at this point in the coaching search process.

Courtesy of the Press Democrat: Allen appears safe in Oakland.

Courtesy of the Press Democrat: Allen appears safe in Oakland.

It appears very likely that the Oakland Raiders will hang on to head coach Dennis Allen for at least another season. Despite grumblings that owner Mark Davis was intent on making a change late in the regular season, Allen and general manager Reggie McKenzie are acting like their jobs are safe. Adding more fuel to the fire here, Oakland is looking to sign both of its coordinators to one-year extensions. Offensive head guy Greg Olson and defensive coordinator Jason Tarver are likely to be extended through the 2014 season. This doesn’t change the fact that 2014 represents a make-or-break campaign for Allen, McKenzie and Co. It is being reported that Allen will meet with Davis this upcoming Monday, but don’t read too much into that.

Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn is drawing a ton of interest as a head coaching candidate throughout the league. Head coach Pete Carroll has gone on record indicating that he wants all possible interviews with either of his coordinators to take place during Seattle’s bye week, which makes perfect sense. According to Ian Rapoport of, the Cleveland Browns and Minnesota Vikings are among the interested teams. Seattle had to expect this type of interest, especially after just wrapping up the most successful season in franchise history. Remember, Gus Bradley, who Quinn replaced as the Seahawks defensive coordinator this season, was hired as the Jacksonville Jaguars head coach a year ago this month. Successful NFL franchises, much like the two top teams in the NFC West, can expect coaching turnover on a consistent basis. We are about to get a glimpse of this in Seattle.

7815876The Cleveland Browns fired Rob Chudzinski after less than a calendar year on the job. The organization, now led by CEO Joe Banner and general manager Michael Lombardi put themselves on the spot following the premature firing of a head coach they hand picked last January. It appears that Cleveland is interested in New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who flamed out as a head coach with the Denver Broncos after less than two seasons in 2010. McDaniels, however, is known as a great offensive mind and might bring a new style of offense to that side of the ball for Cleveland. Common logic also suggests that the Browns would then make a play for Patriots backup quarterback Ryan Mallett to be its new starting quarterback. Of course, this is all premature. Either way you put it, while an attractive destination due to the talent on the roster, Cleveland’s premature firing of Chud may in fact lead some head coaching candidates to think twice about taking the job. Cleveland is also said to be interested in Vandy head coach James Franklin and Auburn head man Gus Malzahn as well as aforementioned Seahawks defensive coordinator Rob Quinn.


Courtesy of ESPN: Smith will likely be a NFL head coach in 2014.

Courtesy of ESPN: Smith will likely be a NFL head coach in 2014.

We reported on Tuesday that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are closing in on former Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith, who was fired last season after leading the club to a 10-6 record. There are also indications that Smith plans to bring former CAL head coach Jeff Tedford with him as offensive coordinator wherever he lands. Now, it appears that the Detroit Lions plan on courting Smith. The logical fit here would be Tampa Bay, who has a young quarterback for Tedford to groom and a talented defense for Smith to look over. That being said, Detroit seems like a solid fit. Matthew Stafford has regressed in each of the last two seasons and could use a quarterback guru to lead his offense. Meanwhile, Detroit has a really talented young core on the defensive side of the ball for Smith to work with. Either way you put it, a Smith/Tedford power-sharing model seems to be ideal at this point. It now remains to be seen where they end up.

Among those San Francisco 49ers assistant coaches expected to draw interest in both the college and NFL ranks are: Greg Roman (offensive coordinator), Vic Fangio (defensive coordinator) and Jim Tomsula (defensive line coach). Roman, who was a finalist for the Penn State job after the sexual assault scandal, will likely be interviewed for the head coaching job in Happy Valley at some point in the not-so-distant future. Meanwhile, I am hearing that the Washington Redskins and Detroit Lions have “some” interest in Fangio, who has led a consistently top-five unit in San Francisco since joining Jim Harbaugh in Santa Clara back in 2011. The most interesting name here is Tomsula, who is respected around the NFL. Despite only being a positional coach, Tomsula could very well bolt for a head coaching job. It has been the 49ers policy not to allow positional coaches to interview for anything less than head coaching jobs in the past. This likely won’t change in 2014.

RAIDERS COACH JON GRUDEN SMILES DURING WIN OVER KANSAS CITY.Quick Notes: Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, who led a vastly improved unit in the desert this season, is becoming a hot head coaching candidate around the NFL. Reports indicate that the Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns and Minnesota Vikings have shown interest in him. Baylor head coach Art Briles hasn’t heard from the Washington Redskins, which was reported last week. Briles is said to be interested in jumping to the NFL if the right situation presents itself. The common link here? Briles coached for Heisman Trophy Award Winner Robert Griffin III with Baylor. Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott continues to draw interest around the league. Reports indicate that Washington will interview him over the weekend. Mike Silver of is indicating that both Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase and the aforementioned Bowles may turn down opportunities to interview for the vacant Browns’ head coaching position. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise considering how Cleveland handled the whole Chud situation.

While it appears that Tom Coughlin will remain the head coach of the New York Giants in 2014, his coordinator might not be safe. Indications around the league are that offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride could find himself out of a job. In my humble opinion, this has been a long time coming. In addition, defensive coordinator Perry Fewell, who was a hot head coaching commodity after New York’s Super Bowl title back in 2011, may be on his way out.

Jon Gruden continues to indicate that he’s not open to discussing head coaching vacancies in the NFL and wants to continue his analyst job with ESPN. Reports surfaced last month that the Oakland Raiders were interested in a reunion. At this point, that’s nothing more than a pipe dream. It’s not happening.

Much like Coughlin in New York, it appears that Jason Garrett’s job with the Dallas Cowboys is safe. With that said, owner Jerry Jones may force defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin out after one season. Kiffin led an injury-plagued Cowboys defense to the 26th-ranked scoring unit in the NFL.